The kids have been together since May 17, when the final bell rang and school let out. They are two peas in a pod, emotional twins, evil twins, best friends, and about every cliché that describes siblings that are extremely close. Most of the time, I love their closeness, despite my constant 3-wheel status in their presence. Of course, with every sibling relationship, along with the good, comes the bad, and lately, the bad is getting worse. Last night, my kids took on rolls that I never thought they would take.
We have a glorious finished basement, that we have decorated and declared “Kidville.” We let them run, jump, play and have outside voices down there. Upstairs is our Oasis. We are quiet, civilized, and normal upstairs. Despite the distinction, I can hear EVERYTHING that happens in the basement, it’s a curse and a blessing. When they fight, I let them duke it out. I figure, if there’s an emergency, one of them will come get us. (I fear silence, which I have NEVER heard.) In time, one of them will tattle, and they are old enough to figure out, that with tattling comes consequences for BOTH of them since there are normally two wrongs to each child-argument. I love it when kids work out their own disagreements, they need those tools, they are essential. This week, the fighting is happening more and more. My patience is shot, the days are getting longer, and of course, Scott is working even more. These are the real life “Dog Days of Summer.”
Last night, Scott and I were upstairs, doing our grown-up decompressing, when the first battle ensued. Sure enough, Ana’s fake “ehhhhhh” became louder and louder as she climbed the stairs and headed our way. “MOMMY, McCartney called me a baby!” she cried, the tears streaming down her face. I looked at the clock, it was 7:20pm. Yes! It was late enough to send them to bed!
“Clean up your room, and in 10 minutes you will go to bed. DO NOT go back downstairs. Your brother has not been nice to you today. Leave him alone tonight.” For some insane reason, I thought she listened to me, and turned my attention back to my book.
Five minutes later, I heard, “Baby, baby, baby! You don’t know anything! You are such a baby!”
By then, I was on my way down to Kidville.
“She’s lying!” yelled my son. (Ah, his new favorite phrase, which is a lie itself.)
“Ana, to your room! McCartney, you are lying. I heard you! I heard you, I heard everything!” By this time I was furious. I have NO patience for bullying, lying, not listening, or anything that just happened in our house.
My son, looked down at his feet. I continued, “You are a bully. You are not much older than your sister and most of the time you two act the same age. You need to stop treating her this way! Bullying, lying, and teasing are not going to happen in this house. We are a family. It’s time for bed, say good night to Dad and go to bed.”
I couldn’t believe it! I mean, I could believe it, to a point, he bullied Ana earlier this week, and we had earlier conversations. What I hate about this situation is McCartney often comes home from school asking, “Why don’t the kids like me? Why do they call weird? When will I have real friends?” He knows what bullying feels like. Why did he do it? (I know brothers and sisters do things like this, but like I said, I saw this behavior multiple times lately and it is getting worse.)
I met Ana in the bathroom, preparing her toothbrush. “Why did you go back downstairs? What were your directions?” I was equally angry at her.
“You said to stay in my room,” Ana admitted.
“You knew your brother was being mean, and you went right back to him. Do NOT be a victim. When someone is mean to you, you walk away. You say, ‘I don’t like how you are treating me and I will not play with you until you can be nice.’ Ana, you are loved, and SO many kids LOVE you, you don’t HAVE to be treated badly. Stand up for yourself and learn to walk away! Be strong!”
I was upset with her because Ana is a strong female. She does what she wants, and often doesn’t care what others do. I will not allow her to lose that piece of herself. Ana and I are a lot alike, but I understand she is NOT me. Ana will not learn to be a victim in our house, she will learn to use her voice and I will NOT do it for her.
Both kids went straight to bed, the house was quiet until this morning. By the time I came home from the gym, the kids were best friends again. At lunch, McCartney said that he told me, that he said he was sorry to Ana this morning. Today was wonderful. I pray they learned something last night. Time will tell, since it is a matter of time before they disagree again.
What would you have done in this situation? How should parents deliver a message to their kids without being so extreme or is OK to be extreme at times, to make a serious point? I would love to know what you think!